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What the Election Can Mean for Our Students

Teach For America CEO Elisa Villanueva Beard reacts to the outcome of the 2020 election and what President-Elect Biden's win could mean for students across the country.

November 9, 2020
 Elisa Villanueva Beard Profile

Elisa Villanueva Beard

 Elisa Villanueva Beard Profile

Elisa Villanueva Beard

The work ahead will not be easy, but a new administration offers the opportunity to bring about fundamental change in pursuit of equity for our children.

This election was a consequential one for America. Americans voted in historic numbers and made a statement about the challenges we face and the kind of leadership we want for the next four years.

The election of President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris is historic in many ways. Joe Biden received the most votes in American history, surpassing the record set by President Obama. Kamala Harris will be the first woman, the first Black woman, and the first South Asian-American to be vice president.

This year put a bright light on issues we’ve known for years have undercut our promise to educate all children. During the presidential campaign, President-elect Biden talked of the four historic crises America faces: the pandemic, the economy, racial injustice, and climate change. Each of these has dire consequences for our students and for a rising generation of Americans. Too many students have been left out and left behind, denied the opportunity to have an equal chance in life. Today President-elect Biden and Vice President- elect Harris, along with all of us, have an opportunity and an obligation to bring about a fundamentally different future for our students, one that puts equity at the center of all we do. Without that, our educational system will continue to fail for too many too often.

The new administration is an opportunity to advance the cause of equity for children, to enact policies that seek to improve educational outcomes and root out systemic racism and injustice, and to bring our country together so we stop fighting each other and start solving the shared problems we face.

We know the work ahead will not be easy. No one election, no one candidate, can overcome all the challenges we face. We are still a deeply polarized country. We are all feeling a range of emotions about the results and what they mean for our country and ourselves. I am asking myself, as I know many of you are as well: How can we come together, in the face of such divides, and move forward as a country? How do we bring people into the cause, building a large powerful movement for educational equity? And how can we work together as a staff community to achieve our mission for our students?

I am both clear-eyed about the challenges we face and filled with a sense of what’s possible when we work together. I believe in the power of our common humanity and human decency. I believe in our children. I believe in us. And I am ready to take on the work that lies ahead, together with you all and in partnership with our students and communities.

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Elisa Villanueva Beard

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